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Shire buying SD liver disease drug maker for $260M

Irish drugmaker Shire said Monday it will buy San Diego-based privately-held Lumena Pharmaceuticals for more than $260 million in a deal that gives Shire new experimental treatments for liver diseases.

Shire said it will make another payment when the sale closes, and it could make additional payments based on results from studies of Lumena's drugs. The amounts of those payments were not disclosed.

It said Lumena's products will fit in with its treatments for gastrointestinal diseases, including the ulcerative colitis drugs Lialda and Pentasa, and Resolor, which is approved as a treatment for chronic constipation in women. Shire reported $800 million in revenue from gastrointestinal disease treatments in 2013.

Shire said Lumena's drug LUM001 is being studied as a treatment for four rare liver diseases. The drug is in mid-stage clinical studies and could be approved in 2016. It said a second drug, LUM002, is ready for mid-stage testing as a treatment for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, is a chronic liver disease that can cause inflammation and scarring, which may lead to cirrhosis, liver failure and death.

Shire said Lumena's products could be approved as orphan drugs, which would give them additional marketing exclusivity and bolster sales. It said the purchase of the company shouldn't affect its guidance in 2014.

U.S. shares of Shire PLC lost $1.40 to $166.75 in morning trading Monday. Its shares had risen 19 percent so far this year through Friday's close.

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